Can I Apply for Citizenship with an Expired Green Card?

Permanent resident based green card

All lawful citizens or permanent residents of the United States are receivers of a green card. All these immigrants have two options: they continue to renew their card, or they become a citizen when eligible. But when your green card is expired, there are consequences you need to face.

In case your green card expires, you might be wondering whether you can still qualify for citizenship or not. The answer is, you can apply for citizenship even if your green card expires, but you may run into some issues in the interim related to your expired green card.

It is essential to know that an expired green card does not invalidate your permanent residency status. But there are many places where the physical card that proves your immigration status may not be valid.

In this article, we have discussed what problems you can face from an expired green card, can you become eligible for citizenship with an expired green card, and why is it essential to get your green card to renew.

Petition of citizenship with an expired green card

You don’t need a valid green card to apply for naturalization, according to immigration law. However, it is good to keep your green card up to date and renewed, whether it is mandatory for applying for citizenship. 

For applying for U.S. citizenship, it is essential to fill out the N-400 application for naturalization. Fees for the application are $640, and the applicant may be required to pay an extra $85 biometric fee. Remember that all these fees are nonrefundable. 

Problems from an Expired Green Card

While a permanent resident does not lose your permanent resident status and still qualifies for citizenship, not having a green card can create other issues. Here, we have discussed a few areas where not having a valid green card can cause trouble.

Getting a job

Most US-based companies are not supposed to hire you if you do not have a valid green card, though, in reality, some companies do not abide by these rules. Permanent residents have to show their green card details to the company to work in the U.S for tax purposes.

If your green card is expired, you can use your foreign passport with an i-551 stamp to verify your identity. But this process is costly and takes a long time to complete.

➡LEARN MORE: How long after getting a Green Card can I get a Divorce?

Breaking the law

According to the immigration law, any lawful U.S. resident 18 years or older who is wedged without a valid green card can be sentenced to a misdemeanor crime and face a fine of up to a hundred dollars or be imprisoned for up to thirty days.

Buying a house

Suppose a permanent resident has an expired green card that takes 10-12 months to renew. In that case, they cannot receive housing loans because permanent residents are required to present proof, and an expired green card can throw a massive wrench in the gears of your housing plans.

Obtaining a professional license

An excellent green card is an obligation for certification in many areas of the U.S  for professions like real estate agents, lawyers, health care workers, insurance agents, etc.

Some jobs require professional licenses, which can be unbearable to obtain without a valid green card. Additionally, most states do not allow people to rehearse these professions without professional support.